A week from today, five more work days and seven calendar days, I will be off to to Italia. Driving to Dulles International and departing on a 7:14 p.m. flight to Frankfurt, Germany where I grab a connecting flight to Florence.
On my agenda the first week besidesFlorence are trips to Sienna and San Gimignano . In Florence I will be staying near the Ponte Vecchio.
The Ponte Vecchio is the oldest and most famous bridge across the Arno, and the bridge as we know it today was built in 1345 by Taddeo Gaddi to replace an earlier version. The characteristic overhanging shops have lined the bridge since at least the 12th century. In the 16th century, it was home to butchers until Cosimo I moved into the Palazzo Pitti across the river. He couldn't stand the stench as he crossed the bridge from on high in the Corridorio Vasariano every day, so he evicted the meat cutters and moved in the classier gold- and silversmiths, tradesmen who occupy the bridge to this day.
The Ponte Vecchio's fame saved it in 1944 from the Nazis, who had orders to blow up all the bridges before retreating out of Florence as Allied forces advanced. They couldn't bring themselves to reduce this span to rubble -- so they blew up the ancient buildings on either end instead to block it off. The Arno flood of 1966 wasn't so discriminating, however, and severely damaged the shops. Apparently, a private night watchman saw the waters rising alarmingly and called many of the goldsmiths at home, who rushed to remove their valuable stock before it was washed away.
I am still in my gathering, sorting and deciding what to and what not to take and knowing of course I have that 50 lb weight restriction to deal with; and, checking the weather daily to determine some of my decisions regarding what to pack.
Have a good week everyone.
See posters here.